Natural history writer Andrew Crowe wins Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal
Natural history writer and photographer Andrew Crowe is the first non-fiction writer to win the country’s top children’s literature prize, the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal.
The award, given annually for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature, will be presented in Christchurch on 28 March.
“Andrew Crowe’s contribution to young New Zealanders’ knowledge of their country’s natural history has been unique and of long standing,” says Storylines Trust chairman, Dr Libby Limbrick. “His many books, both in design and content, are consistently attractive, informative and accessible to young and old alike.”
Emigrating from Britain in 1972, Andrew Crowe published his first field guide to native edible plants in 1981, following an experience of getting lost in the bush and deciding that through books he could show that New Zealand was for him ‘a very special place’.
He has since produced more than 40 titles about native fauna and flora, mostly as series popular with schools, trampers, tourists and natural history enthusiasts. These include the “Which…?” series, the Wild Stories series, Patterns in Nature series (also published in Maori), the Mini Guide, Life-size Guide and Nature Flip Guide series.
Regularly appearing on shortlists, he is a multiple winner of both New Zealand Post and LIANZA children’s non-fiction book awards and was a finalist in the 1998 GP Book Design awards, with The Life-Size Guide to Native Trees. Two books have also featured in the Montana shortlists - Which New Zealand Bird? in 2002 and Which New Zealand Insect? in 2003.
Other texts, artwork and photographs have appeared in the School Journal, the Listener and New Zealand Geographic magazines. His most recent successes have been the Ashton Wylie Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2005 for The Dalai Lama Story – the Making of a World Leader, written with a foreword by the Dalai Lama to coincide with His Holiness' visit to New Zealand in June 2007, and the 2008 New Zealand Post Non-fiction Award for Which New Zealand Spider?
Andrew Crowe lives in Thames when he is not away travelling through New Zealand, countries like Tibet or Nepal, or going sailing.
Other winners of the Margaret Mahy Medal since 1991 have been novelists, among them Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee and William Taylor, picture book specialists such as Lynley Dodd and Gavin Bishop, and one publisher, Ann Mallinson.